When you think of your favorite brands, certain images, feelings, and values spring to mind. Consider for a minute the Nike swoop, or the multicolored Google logo—they are recognized immediately worldwide. That’s the end result of successful brand consistency.
Building brand consistency
When brands are inconsistent, they lose track of their target audience and often stumble. People tend to buy from brands they connect with. Businesses with brand consistency have 10 percent to 20 percent higher revenues.
For example, what if Levi’s suddenly delved into high fashion and created curious-looking clothing in zany colors and delicate fabrics and decided to hit the runways in Paris and Milan? This counters their brand, which relies on classic, accessible American style with sturdy, everyday wearable ease.
This doesn’t happen by accident: Most large corporations devote a huge portion of their resources to branding, which forms the core of a business’ identity. But it’s also essential for small businesses to nail brand consistency, particularly on social media. As a blog on LocalIQ states, “Basically, any place a customer would engage with your business digitally or in the real world should have a consistent experience (and a consistent look and feel).”
It’s key to ensure your brand looks and sounds consistent across all platforms and that you post new content regularly. If your business posts haphazardly or only when one of your employees thinks about it or has time, you’ll never get engagement and people won’t know what defines your brand.
Here are three key questions to consider to ensure brand consistency:
How does your brand look?
Your brand should have a consistent appearance everywhere, which includes on your website, in email newsletters and across all social media platforms.
- On the most basic level, use a set color palette and limited number of fonts.
- Hire a graphic designer to come up with a professional logo in a variety of sizes and orientations that you can use anywhere online and provide to the media, if needed.
- Develop your own library of images and graphics that convey your brand consistently with interesting content. This is easier for some businesses (say, restaurants or clothing brands) than others (therapists, engineering firms). Images are essential on social media. According to a blog on 99Designs, “Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement, and Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than Tweets without.”
How does your brand sound?
Setting the correct tone for your brand is another important component of connecting with your audience and customers.
For instance, if you have an HVAC company, you want your tone to be authoritative and confident yet understanding. You want to exude competence but also be empathetic to people whose air conditioner just went out in the middle of summer. If you make custom novelty T-shirts, you want a fun, positive brand image.
Specifically, it would be acceptable for the T-shirt company to post, “Hey guys, check out our new cat lady shirts!” However, the HVAC company should be more formal and professional.
No matter what your tone, it’s important to stay positive on social media. You can easily turn off potential customers and even loyal followers with negative remarks about competitors, complaints about not having enough business and other “Debbie Downer” posts.
How often does your brand interact?
Now that you have a consistent look and tone for your brand, think about how often and when you want to post. It’s not enough to do it when you get around to it.
A Slate article states, “Whether you’re posting content every day or once per week, it’s crucial for your brand to choose and stick to a posting schedule. When your content quality and content quantity are consistent, you avoid confusing your customers. You also help to increase credibility with your customers and overall brand trust.”
Studies come out regularly citing the “best times” to post to get eyeballs on your brand, but these should be taken with a grain of salt. If you run a pizza parlor and want to promote your daily special, you might get more customers to come in if you post a couple hours before dinnertime, but on weekends, you might want to post in the late morning before any big games start. A good social media manager will try out a few strategies to see what works best for your business.
Finally, you can’t just throw posts out there and forget about them. A big part of branding is how well you interact online. If people reply to your posts and send questions via social media, you or someone with authority to speak for you needs to engage with them. If no one bothers to respond, you’ve probably lost that customer for good.
Here at AZ Media Maven, we have more than a decade of experience helping small businesses with branding and social media strategies. We can help with all aspects, from setting your color palette to handling your social media inquiries. Please visit our website to set up a consultation so we can find out more about how we can help you build your business through branding and social media.
AZ Media Maven is based in Laveen, AZ, a suburban village in the greater Phoenix area. Owner Rose Tring has more than 30 years of journalism experience as an editor and writer, many of those years in business news. She created AZ Media Maven in 2012 to help other business owners succeed by effectively telling their stories through public relations and social media. Reach AZ Media Maven at email@example.com or call (602) 373-8371.